Qualification Program "Cultures of Knowledge"

Structure of the curriculum in three areas

  • Interdisciplinary roof: here the PhD students and PIs of the graduate school work together across disciplines
  • Disciplinary pillars: in this area, doctoral students strengthen methodological approaches and expertise in their field
  • Academic base: this is where the fundamentals of scientific and ethical work are taught

This structure ensures that the doctoral students

  • acquire general competencies for the successful completion of their research project, or doctorate, and further career path (academic and non-academic)
  • strengthen disciplinary competencies in their field and gain insight into a broader field of study
  • build skills in interdisciplinary collaboration.

Upon successful completion, i.e., active participation in each course, seminars, doc retreats, their own teaching, workshops, and participation in conferences in the three areas, they will receive an official certificate.


Structure of the graduate school and mentoring program

The program is composed of proposals from the PIs and suggestions from the PhD students. The members' own initiative is particularly encouraged. It includes a diverse range of courses and is tailored to the needs of the participants. Cooperation in the basic area takes place with the Karlsruhe House of Young Scientists (KHYS). External achievements of the doctoral students, for example with the EUCOR partners (trinational association of five universities on the Upper Rhine), EPICUR partners (a European association of nine universities) or participation in conferences, are credited to a certain extent.
The graduate school also provides for an interdisciplinary mentoring program. For this purpose, the PhD students choose a person outside their own field from the KIT professors. Regular meetings ensure complementary mentoring with regard to research work and further education within the graduate school.


Interdisciplinary Roof

This section draws together the various knowledge cultures of the Graduate School and provides space for a discourse that is both professionally sound and cross-cutting at the same time. An annual Doc Retreat forms the core of the Graduate School. At least two participations during the doctoral phase are mandatory for the members. During the two days, doctoral students present their research to each other and develop ideas for further disciplinary and interdisciplinary projects in the Graduate School. Thus, the Doc Retreat is elementary for strengthening interdisciplinary collaboration and for the further development of the Graduate School. An annual lecture series on a yearly topic, held by the PIs and external speakers, complements the interdisciplinary umbrella. In general, PhD students are invited to organize interdisciplinary events on their own initiative: Study days, lectures, reading circles, etc. International collaborations are also encouraged.  

Disciplinary Pillars

Doctoral colloquia arranged within a department offer members a disciplinary exchange opportunity and space for methodological reinforcement of their own research work. Here, too, projects initiated by doctoral students are promoted for further events, e.g. study days or reading circles.

Academic Foundation

In the foundation program, basic qualifications for the implementation of a research project, the doctorate, are taught on the one hand, and on the other hand, competencies and building blocks for further career paths (in the academic and non-academic sector) are created. For this purpose, the Graduate School CuKnow closely cooperates with the KHYS and the ARRTI (KIT Academy for Responsible Research, Teaching, and Innovation).





Participation in the qualification program is in line with the objectives of the overall strategy formulated by KIT with regard to the qualification and promotion of young scientists. The program is designed for 3 years, but can also be completed more slowly if the doctorate takes longer. It is based on the recommendation of the DFG that a maximum of 4-5 SWS/year should be spent on qualification in addition to the doctorate. 1 SWS corresponds to approx. 1.5 ECTS (approx. 45 working hours).

Membership in CuKnow continues until the doctorate is completed or a withdrawal from CuKnow occurs. If the minimum requirements for the certificate are not met, a " trimmed down certificate can be issued".

In general, doctoral students are invited to organize interdisciplinary events on their own initiative: Study days, lectures, reading circles, etc. International collaborations are also encouraged. The own organization of an event, seminar or workshop will be evaluated more extensively than if only "participating" in a seminar. The ECTS, therefore, depend on the degree of preparation and follow-up as well as the duration of an event.



Die Graduiertenschule Cultures of Knowledge kann künftig Beihilfen für Reisen ins In- und Ausland vergeben. Jedes eingeschriebene Mitglied von CuKnow kann ein jährliches Budget von max. 750,- € für Reisekosten/Tagungskosten beantragen. In der gesamten Laufzeit der Mitgliedschaft in der Graduiertenschule werden bis zu 3.000 €  pro Promovierender bei ausreichend vorhandenen Mitteln gefördert. Die Reisen müssen im Zusammenhang mit der jeweiligen Dissertation bzw. dem Forschungsvorhaben stehen.

Für jede Reise muss jeweils ein Dienstreiseantrag gestellt werden muss.  Als Reisekosten werden am KIT Transport, Unterkunft, Tagegeld, Tagungskosten etc. erstattet.

Hier der Link zu den wichtigsten Infos und das Handout zum Landesreisegesetz.



The KIT Graduate School CuKnow is awarding short-term scholarships for CuKnow members. The funding is intended to further strengthen inter-institutional interdisciplinary collaboration in the CuKnow Graduate School. The application period for the first round has ended on 15.06.23. There will be a second round in the fall for the scholarships starting June 1st, 2024. If you have any questions, please contact Carolin Ibelshäuser.

Cooperation with the PhD Program of ITAS

The Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) is the leading institute for technology assessment in Germany and worldwide. Here, a wide range of questions concerning scientific and technological progress are addressed in a multidisciplinary environment. The doctoral program at ITAS thus represents an opportunity to examine one's own dissertation project from different perspectives. ITAS and CuKnow have agreed that PhD students can each book the program of the respective school: the KIT Graduate School "Cultures of Knowledge" opens its program to all ITAS PhD students and vice versa CuKnow PhD students can participate in the program of ITAS.





Prof. Dr. Ingrid Ott
Center Humans and Technology (MuT),
Chair in Economic Policy (ECON)
+49 721 608 - 45257 (Telephone)





Prof. Dr. Darko Jekauc
Head of the Health Education and Sport
Psychology Department (IfSS)
+49 721 608 - 45725 (Telephone)





M. Sc. Carolin Ibelshäuser
Center Humans and Technology (MuT),
Coordinator KIT-Graduate School
„Cultures of Knowledge“
+49 721 608-44235 (Telephone)
carolin ibelshaeuser∂kit edu

M. Sc. Anna Keitemeier